In part one of Psychological Benefits of Holiday Gifts we discovered, with the help of Bernadette Dimitrov's research, how giving builds and deepens relationships and helps us express our feelings of gratitude. In this segment we will explore two more benefits of gift giving: Creating Memories as a symbol of our love and Creating Predictability with the ritual of giving. These benefits work closely with Dr. Gary Chapman's Love Languages as well.
Create Memories and Quality Time
Creating memories for the holidays may be in decorating the Christmas tree, pictures of family fun, or simply special moments. Christmas decorating could be one of your traditions that correlate with remembering and discussing memorable Christmas tree ornaments as you place them on the Christmas tree with your loved ones.
In The Five Love Languages, Dr. Chapman discusses "Words of Appreciation" as a "Love Language". With quality time as a strong contender, this love language is not about words of love and appreciation necessarily, but about proximity. It is about having the undivided focus and attention of the person you love. This person would probably enjoy games or puzzles wrapped under the decorated Christmas tree. You could customize to their interests making sure the need for one on one or group time is met.
My husband and I have decided that planning and going on special trips together and creating those memories take the pressure off of Christmas shopping for each other. One of our trips was to the island of Kauai the week before Christmas. We were to arrive home the day before Christmas eve knowing that guests would be arriving Christmas eve. Our redeye flight arrived in LA bright in early with a connecting flight leaving at 6 a.m. to arrive home leaving plenty of time to unpack and finish decorating the Christmas tree (a job hazard when always doing it for others). Unfortunately, our flight was delayed and our seats reassigned with not another flight in any airline leaving until late that evening. Luckily we both go with the flow and decided to rent a car for the 6 Hour Drive home.
In Kauai, we had kayaked to a remote waterfall, took a catamaran to the forbidden Island, Scuba Dived and went on an amazing helicopter ride that made me cry with the sheer beauty of the island. After all of that, our six-hour drive home had to be counted as one of my favorite memories for that trip.
Having said that, arriving home I went into hyper mode to be ready for guests. I don't know that I will pull that stunt again, at least not that close to the holidays, especially with out-of-town guests involved! But in the end, I did discover what makes the holiday special for me and that was quality time with my loved one.
Creating Predictability and Acts of Service
Did you know that the decorated Christmas tree, the Christmas wreaths on the door and even the fresh bows on the fireplace mantel create predictability? We all love the comfort of predictability; especially children as it gives them a sense of security. Through the predictable act of giving, especially at birthdays and Christmas celebrations, experiences of being appreciated, acknowledged, loved, and made to feel extra special are created by the ritual of giving. (Bernadette Dimtrov)
If gifts, words and time aren't expressing your love language possibly you or your loved one prefer Acts of Service. Seeing the holiday decorations come to life create an excitement and anticipation of special deeds to perform. The very act of producing decorated Christmas trees takes on a whole new meaning when it becomes a gift of service. Even holiday baking creates the predictability of the happy faces while receiving your favorite Christmas treats.
What makes Acts of Service a "Love Language' worth acting on? If this is yours or your partners form of loving communication, it may seem predictable that you help out a little more during the holidays. I can guarantee that the mood will be more merry and bright with less stress! I mentioned a coupon book in this series which adds a personal touch of appreciated services under the Christmas tree. Christmas decorating ideas could be as simple as an "I owe you" tied with ribbon to a snowflake on your Christmas tree and Christmas wreaths. Be sure to make it special by being personal and even unexpected from what you would normally do. That will add to the excitement!
De-Stress and Create Miracles
There are two final benefits of gift giving according to Dimitrov. One is to de-stress by taking the focus off of ourselves and create balance. The other is to create miracles by reinforcing love in all our lives when we give for the greater good. During the hectic preparation of this holiday season, take a moment to reflect on the deep impact you have on each person in your life with the power of your gift giving as a language of love.
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